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Making pro-life history on St. Patrick’s Day

by | Mar 18, 2019

By Maria V. Gallagher, Legislative Director, Pennsylvania Pro-Life Federation

Chloe Kondrich and Michael O’Dowd

A Pennsylvania teenager with Down syndrome and a noted disability rights activist from Ireland came together to make history on St. Patrick’s Day.

High school sophomore Chloe Kondrich joined Michael O’Dowd of Disability Voices for Life to sign the historic Global Declaration on Eradicating the Genocide of Persons with Down Syndrome.

The international document notes that the genocide of those with Down syndrome has become epidemic, even as persons with an extra chromosome contribute richly to families, schools, workplaces, communities and nations.

The declaration states “this eugenic movement is the ultimate extreme form of prejudice, discrimination, bigotry, profiling, exclusion and hate on innocent human beings who commit no violence or evil.”

The signatories have pledged their commitment to a global initiative to “eradicate this monstrous human rights violation through peaceful, prayerful, and educational means.”

Chloe has become something of a goodwill ambassador for people with Down syndrome. She has met President Trump, Vice President Pence, numerous lawmakers, sports figures, musicians, and other celebrated figures.

Michael O’Dowd is the father of a young man with Down syndrome. During an exclusive interview, O’Dowd says his son Conor “has brought so much” to his life. He was astounded after Conor was born 24 years ago to discover that the rates of birth for children with Down syndrome in the United Kingdom and France were low because of abortion.

He says that Conor is a “wizard at electronic gadgetry” and is the go-to person for fixing a television or other electronics. O’Dowd concedes that a referendum in Ireland last year that eliminated the pro-life 8th Amendment was “very disappointing.” He notes that children with Down syndrome are now among the “most defenseless” because of Ireland’s new abortion policy.

In an op-ed piece for the Irish Examiner last year, he vowed he would not “be silenced on abortion.” He stated, “Abortion targets people with a disability, and in particular people who have Down syndrome.

“The statistics are bleak and depressing,” he continued. “In Britain, 90% of babies diagnosed with Down syndrome are aborted before birth. This is an increase in the rates of two decades ago. Iceland’s rate of abortion for babies diagnosed with Down syndrome is close to 100%, while Denmark is now aborting 98% of such babies.”

But with the signing of the international declaration against the genocide of persons with Down syndrome, both Michael O’Dowd and Chloe Kondrich hope that a breakthrough can be achieved. As the declaration states, “This abominable genocide is a clear and tragic violation of human rights.” And it needs to end—not only for the good of people with Down syndrome, but for the well-being of all of humanity.